E-cigarettes and vaping devices (EVC) have dominated the public and academic debate on tobacco control since its introduction into the market. Now, Malaysia is looking to introduce stricter regulations on the sale and use of EVC, placing it together with tobacco products under a single law that would prohibit promotions and advertising, usage in public areas and use by minors.
E-cigarettes and vapes are different. An e-cigarette is usually shaped like a pen and filled with nicotine, while vapes are handheld devices that may not have nicotine in its e-juice or oil. In Malaysia, a ban on vaporiser liquids containing nicotine has been in place since November 2015, according to a story on the aseanpost.com.
There is a rising uptake of EVC among Malaysia’s youth. Due to this, the Health Ministry there is not discounting a total ban on the products. “Everything is currently in the planning stage. We are examining whether to fully implement the ban on vape use, like some other countries,” said Deputy Health Minister, Dr Lee Boon Chye.
Research in the Journal of Community Health by Li Ping Wong et al. in 2016 revealed that 39 percent of e-cigarette smokers are youths in universities while 36 percent are young professionals. Their main reason for using EVC is to quit the smoking of tobacco, according to the story.
The research identified other reasons students have for smoking e-cigarettes and vaping such as their perception that e-cigarettes are not as intrusive as tobacco cigarettes and can be used in public places and the notion that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking tobacco.
However, based on 2018 research by Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh et. al. on ‘‘The use of e-cigarettes among university students in Malaysia,’’ in the Tobacco Induced Diseases Journal, the number of youths who use e-cigarettes as a tool to quit is 14.1 percent, which is lower than current EVC smokers who have never smoked a cigarette (20.4 percent). There is also a high percentage of youths who are dual users (smoking both, tobacco products and EVC) at 40.3 percent, according to the story.